By Daniel Montesanto, Global Product Manager, HP Networking
Every week it seems networking vendors are announcing new solutions or technologies that bring us closer to saying “goodbye” to legacy, CLI-driven, physically managed and provisioned networks. This should be great news for anyone who has been waiting for networks to “get with the program” when it comes to delivering the kind of flexibility and ease-of-management that system administrators have been enjoying for years using server virtualization tools.
Virtualized network architecture needs a solid foundation
So while vendors are busy virtualizing their network solutions, a key question arises: How do you most effectively enable delivery of these more flexible resources to the business? As IT evolves to cloud-driven deployment and consumption models, network administrators have to think about how to best make virtualized networks easy to consume by the business.
HPs Virtual Application Networks stake out a compelling vision and set of solutions that enable customers to realize the benefits of network virtualization. Built on HP’s FlexNetwork architecture, these solutions provide networking admins innovative tools for making networks easier-to-deploy and more flexible to manage.
Move out of the silo
If we want to make virtualized networks easy to consume by the business all administration teams – server, storage, and networking - need to move from siloed, infrastructure-centric operations to approaches that yield better alignment between those management domains and tighter integration with cloud frameworks.
The first area of opportunity is to focus on Operations Integration – enabling server, storage and networking teams to better align their activities. This means leveraging new tools and processes to allow these teams to coordinate their operating models to more quickly and reliably provision virtual resources. This approach can also make the resources they deliver more closely aligned with the applications that need them.
Using the Virtual Application Network Manager as part of the HP Intelligent Management Center (IMC), network administrators can work proactively with server teams to characterize application requirements, design application-specific virtual machine connection profiles, and make those connections available to the server team for instant consumption. That’s good news for server administrators – no more waiting around for network administrators to manually provision connections for new virtual machines!
Complementary to and building on this approach is a focus on Cloud Integration – where the same advanced provisioning tools are instrumented with Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to allow complete infrastructure network services or more granular network resources to be directly consumed by cloud orchestration teams. This framework enables cloud operators to either consume off-the-shelf, application-optimized infrastructure “services” or orchestrate customized combinations of on-the-fly “virtual resources” through programming calls to network management frameworks.
With a rich set of Virtual Application Network APIs included in the eAPI for IMC, complete virtual machine connection profiles can be systematically deployed in concert with server and storage resources as part of an HP Converged Infrastructure. Alternatively, these same APIs can be used to execute individual, finer grain Virtual Application Network operation steps from the cloud.
By providing a framework for better aligning operations with server and storage infrastructure management teams AND enabling flexible cloud orchestration integration, Virtual Application Networks give you all the tools needed to deliver virtualized network resources to the business. It’s just one more reason why I believe box-by-box network management may not long be long for this world. That’s one “goodbye” I’m really looking forward to.